If there is such a thing as American exceptionalism, it is most likely in the area of consumerist capitalism. To think more accurately about this is surely one essential path toward healing. How should we respond to this?
Paul Clark says that his response to America’s exceptional consumerist capitalism is to “return to a deep place within to know truly who I am and then attempt to create some modest friction within the Greed Machine.”
Norman Lowry has often said that his life is, among other things, a protest against the racism, bigotry, militarism and poverty-production of the American system. What does the Greed Machine produce? “Poverty production” says Norm.
Upon the recommendation of my grandson I’m reading THE TRUE AMERICAN: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas, a novel based on the murder and attempted murder of (supposed) Arabs post-9/11 in Dallas. One victim (who survived) this one-man retaliatory “war” was Rais Bhuiyan. The piece I’m picking up today from that story is one thing which Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant to the USA, did to establish his authenticity as an American. Giridharadas describes it this way in the opening sentence of chapter 7: “In the America of the aughts, [first decade of the 21st century] nothing said you belonged like buying a car you couldn’t afford.” Bhuiyan did that, and struggled for 2 years with car payments he should never have committed to. But think of the pathos and tragedy of that sentence. That kind of self-inflicted suffering has damaged not only thousands of immigrants, but millions of U.S. born Americans and savaged the world as one of our “nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems” (Michael Moore).
So, can we move into new and deeper levels of imagining what must do to move beyond “greed-induced behaviors and systems”?
John K. Stoner 5/22/20